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UK Politics

European migrants 'will be denied housing benefit if they are on job-seekers allowance'


People moving to this country from Europe who are unable to find work will be denied housing benefit, according to two senior Conservative cabinet members.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Home Secretary Theresa May, in an article in the Daily Mail, said that new European arrivals will not receive any state-funded help for rent if they are claiming job-seekers allowance.

Working immigrants who lose their job will be given six months before their housing benefit is taken away.

Under emergency regulations that took effect on January 1, all new EU migrants now have to wait for at least three months before they can claim out-of-work benefits.

In their article, Mr Duncan Smith and Mrs May say: “For those migrants who do come here, we’re ensuring they are unable to take unfair advantage of our system by accessing benefits as soon as they arrive.”

The article says that a new £26,000-a-year cap on household benefit claims has affected 33,000 families and encouraged up to 19,000 to return to work.

It adds that a limit on economic migrants from outside the EU, changes to the rules on family and student visas and a crackdown on bogus colleges have helped bring down net migration by nearly a third from its peak.

In other changes, landlords will be fined up to £3,000 if they rent a property to an illegal immigrant and non-EU migrants will be expected to pay a levy of £200 a year to use the NHS. 

The changes to the housing benefit rules will not affect UK and Irish Republic nationals.

European nationals who have been working in the UK, and are subsequently made redundant and claim benefits, will not be affected.

Mr Duncan Smith and Ms May’s article accuses Labour of “a shameful betrayal of thousands of British workers”.